Time for rhyme

  • Published on March 3, 2017

Yesterday, 2 March was Dr Seuss’s birthday. How did you celebrate? Did you read a favourite Dr Seuss story – maybe even more than just one or two? Which is your favourite?

Children love the rhythmic, rhyming stories written by Theodor Seuss Geisel who was born in 1904. (A question for your children – how old would he be if he was still alive today?)

Having fun with rhyme is a great way for children to learn about the sounds of language.

In the beginning, the rhymes can be real or nonsense words, as are many employed by Dr Seuss, training the ear to hear. Children are delighted when they discover pairs of words that rhyme. It is great when parents and teachers share their excitement of discovery too.

Like those of Dr Seuss, many stories and poems for young children are written in rhyme. The rhyme is pleasant to the ear, and encourages children to join in with the reading or telling, using meaning and sound to predict the next rhyming word.

When children are ready, familiar rhyming texts are often the first they read independently, using a combination of memory and print. How many children do you know who first started reading with a Dr Seuss book; such as The Cat in the Hat, Fox in Socks, One Fish Two Fish, Ten Apples Up On Top, or any other favourite.

For my part in the celebration, I joined in with a challenge extended by Vivian Kirkfield to write a story in 50 words. The reason behind the 50 word challenge is that, although the total word count of Green Eggs and Ham is over 700, only 50 unique words were used. (Some of your children may like to check if that is so. How could they do it?)

I decided to write a rhyming nonsense story in exactly 50 words (title not included). I hope you and your children enjoy it.

Lucky Duck


Old Duck.

Couldn’t see –

Lost his glasses by the tree.



Sticky muck.

Didn’t see –

Dropped book in muck up to the knee.



Big truck.

Zooming fast –

Splashed poor Duck as he went past.



Mucky Duck.

Missed by truck,

But stuck in muck –

A Lucky Mucky Duck!

Follow-up suggestions: After you read the story to the children, ask them to tell you about it, explaining the events. Ask them to identify the rhyming words. They may like to illustrate their favourite part, or write an alternate ending for the story. Can they add any rhymes? Some may like to check the word count!

And for a little more fun, here is another nonsense rhyme; this time in exactly 99 words (title not included).

Once was a dog

Once was a dog;

Thought he was a frog,

Sat on a log,

Then jumped in the bog.


Along came frog;

Looked at the dog,

Thought it was a hog

Mucking in his bog.


“Hey, hog,

mucking in my bog …”

“I’m not hog.

I’m a frog in a bog!”


Along came Cog;

Out for a jog,

Leading his hog,

Cause he didn’t have a dog.


Hog saw the bog.

Cog saw the dog;

Cog took the dog,

Left hog in the bog.


Frog was aghast;

Knew peace wouldn’t last;

Packed up his log,

Got out of there fast.


I hope these two rhymes have demonstrated just how easy, and how much fun, rhyming verse can be. Experimenting with rhyme is not only great for developing readers, it also assists developing writers make the connection between print and sound. It is especially effective when teachers and children write collaborative texts together.

Animal Rhyme Time

As an additional contribution to celebrating Dr Seuss and his love for rhyme, and to support you in your role supporting young readers and writers, I have collected some one-syllable animal names and a selection of rhyming words to assist your class explorations into rhyme. The two nonsense rhymes Lucky Duck and Once was a dog are included in the free resource to help get the fun started!

Thank you to Vivian Kirkfield for sparking my bit of rhyming fun this week.


Please check out her fabulous book for teachers and parents of children from 2 – 7 years of age Show Me How. The sub-title Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking provides an insight into the treasures you will find in this book. If you’ve ever wondered about how to extend the learning from some of children’s favourite picture books, this book is for you.  The suggestions that Vivian shares are quick and easy to implement, but long on learning. With ideas for reading, crafting, and cooking for 100 picture books there will be more than a few to try.

I hope you and your children enjoy using these rhyming resources. I’ll see you next week with some suggestions for building friendship skills. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.

Remember, if you haven’t already done so:

Register now to begin using free resources, including Animal Rhyme Time or Subscribe for access to all resources.

Thank you for reading.

Happy teaching and learning,



I appreciate your feedback and comments. Please share your thoughts in the “Leave a reply” box below.

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    Thanks for your lovely comment, Bec. I’m pleased you enjoyed the rhymes.

    Your spot-on Seussian stories ooze kid-appeal, Norah! Fun and funny! (And apropos of the above discussion, I am an avid home cook and enjoy making “green eggs” by adding generous amounts of chopped spinach and herbs to my omelettes.) @AnneLipton

    Hi Anne, I appreciate the generosity of your comments, and am pleased your enjoyed the stories. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

    Your spot-on Seussian stories are fun and funny and ooze kid-appeal, Norah! (I have to chime in re: the above discussion, too. I’m an avid home cook and I love making “green” eggs by using generous amounts of chopped spinach and herbs in my omelettes.)

    Hi Anne, Thank you for joining in the discussion and sharing your green egg recipe. I’m pleased you enjoyed the stories. 🙂

    Hi Norah, I really enjoyed your stories. Lucky Duck is a great story with progressive rhythm and vivid imagery. I could read it to my kids 50 times with pleasure. The animal confusion and inventive rhyming in There Once Was a Dog would make Dr Seuss proud!

    Hi Nadine, Thank you very much for popping over to read and comment. I appreciate your positive response to my nonsense stories. I’m chuffed to think I could make Dr Seuss proud! And even more so to think you would be happy to read and re-read my Lucky Duck story to your children with pleasure. You’ve made my day!

    You’ve got mud on the brain. LOL Poor Ducky may be stuck, if only he hadn’t lost his book it wouldn’t have been so bad, eh? Thanks for the funny rhymes.

    Thank you for popping over to read and comment, Joanne. Yes, one could say I have mud on the brain. If only Duck hadn’t lost his glasses, he would have seen the mud, not slipped and dripped his book, and not got stuck. One little incident leads to so many more and can change the course of history – or Duck’s story anyway. I appreciate your comment. Thanks. 🙂

    I am a huge Dr Seuss fan and also find it very encouraging to “start up” authors that his books were rejected 29 times before he finally got them published. My absolute favourite is The Lorax but I also like Horton hears a who and The cat in the hat. Splendid post, Norah. I wish I had been taught by someone like you – your children are very fortunate.

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Robbie. You know that is a similar story for so many authors, including Australia’s lovely Mem Fox and her story Possum Magic. I think that’s why independent publishing is so popular these days. Your ability to be a published author isn’t solely dependent upon the whim (if I dare use that word) of another. I love The Lorax too. I think it’s a fabulous message about looking after what we’ve got. I’m not as familiar with Horton’s story. Must have another read. Thank you for your kind words. I do love the excitement of learning with young children. It is such a privilege to share their adventures in learning.

    I love Dr. Seuss books. We read them a lot even though my kids are a bit older. And, every year on March 2, we eat green eggs and ham for dinner. We also read Dr. Seuss books and write poetry. 🙂 We each write our own but, I think, we’ll write one together as you suggested. We’ll each write a line or stanza and see what happens!

    Love your cute poems!

    What a wonderful way to celebrate Dr Seuss’s birthday, Sarah. It sounds like a lot of fun to do as a family. How do you serve your green eggs? Are they scrambled? I can’t think of green eggs and ham without thinking of green ham. That never feels so appetising to me! I hope you share the poems you write. I’d love to read them. 🙂

    We eat our eggs scrambled
    I’m sorry to say
    To turn them all green
    You cannot flambé

    You cannot make omelets
    Or boil or fry
    You must mix them up
    With some green-colored dye

    I know it sounds gross
    But the ham is green, too
    Oh, yes, quite the sight
    But we love them – it’s true!

    That is delightful, Sarah, and such fun. Thank you for sharing. Green scrambled eggs is one thing, but I’m not sure about the green ham! I guess since it’s totally appropriate for Dr Seuss Day, it must be okay! (Now I wish I’d responded in rhyme – will have to think on that.) Thanks for extending the fun. 🙂

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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